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J Clin Invest. 1997 Sep 1;100(5):1204-8.

Expression of mucosal homing receptor alpha4beta7 by circulating CD4+ cells with memory for intestinal rotavirus.

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Department of Pathology and the Digestive Disease Center, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


The integrin alpha4beta7 mediates lymphocyte binding to mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1, and its expression defines lymphocytes capable of trafficking through the intestines and the intestinal lymphoid tissues. We examined the ability of discrete alpha4beta7(hi) and alpha4beta7- subsets of circulating memory phenotype (CD45RA-) CD4+ T cells to proliferate in response to rotavirus, a ubiquitous intestinal pathogen. alpha4beta7(hi) memory (CD45RA-) CD4+ T cells displayed much greater reactivity to rotavirus than alpha4beta7- memory or naive (CD45RA+) CD4+ T cells. In contrast, alpha4beta7- memory cells were the predominant population responsive to mumps antigen after intramuscular vaccination. Our results are consistent with the conclusion that natural rotavirus infection, an enteric pathogen, results in a specific circulating memory CD4+ response that is largely limited to the gut-homing alpha4beta7+ subpopulation. This phenotype is not shared with memory cells elicited by intramuscular immunization (shown here) or by skin contact allergens. The results support the hypothesis that gut trafficking memory CD4+ T cells comprise cellular memory for intestinal antigens and suggest that regulated expression of alpha4beta7 helps target and segregate intestinal versus systemic immune response.

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